We now have the news we have been waiting for, that all students will be coming back to school from 8th March. This is great news and we can’t wait to see students back at FRA, learning and enjoying being with their friends again. There is however a huge amount to do and get organised, particularly as the Government requires us to test all students three times in the first couple of weeks before home testing will start. Until then, we have a huge logistical exercise to plan, and that is why we will have to have a phased return, like many other schools.
PHASED RETURN – Updated 1.3.21
Whilst we would love to have everyone back in on Monday 8th March, if we want to ensure a safe environment, and have all students tested, we either need 20-30 more volunteers to come forward, or to phase the return, so we can test year groups in a gradual way. So, our current plans are as follows:
Monday 8th March – Year 11 return and testing (plus key workers)
Tuesday 9th March – Year 9 & 10 return and testing (Year 11 in & key workers)
Wednesday 10th March – Year 7 & 8 return and testing (Years 9,10,11 in)
Thursday 11th March – All year groups in
Friday 12th March – All year groups in
During the 1st 1-2 weeks, whilst we are having to test year groups daily, students that are in school will be working on a blended curriculum, with remote learning and some live teaching, and as we move to home testing we will return to a more traditional offer. This will be flexible and if we are able to grow the volunteer base for testing, we will be able to enhance the offer to include more face to face teaching quicker. Students are reminded to bring earphones with them to help with online lessons as they could be in larger groups during the first two weeks due to testing.
When students arrive at school for the first time, they will be sent to their tutor groups where they will stay until they have had their first negative test. This means students will be in smaller bubbles that are contained. Once students have had their result back, and are negative, movements on site will be less restricted and the groups will be able to mix with the rest of their year group.
COVID TESTING – updated 25/2/21
Testing when students are back will be for the first two weeks. During that time each student will receive 3 tests, 3-5 days apart. After the three tests, students will be issued with home testing kits, more guidance to follow.
We have been testing for several weeks already. All results so far have been negative. The testing process is extremely labour intensive and we have a team of 11, including several amazing volunteers, who do this on a regular basis. However, to ramp up for whole school testing, we need lots more volunteers. The more volunteers we can train, the more we can run a standard timetable and get the school back to normal routines. If you think you can help with testing students in the first two weeks back after 8th March, please email email@example.com
If you would like more information on testing please click here: COVID Testing
Students must have consent to participate in testing and we strongly encourage all to do so. Consent can be given remotely by filling out this form: https://forms.gle/teX4vQRXb6pBZbXB6
Consent only needs to be given once.
For students who may be anxious about testing, we have produced a short video on what happens at FRA.
FACE MASKS – 1.3.21
Just to confirm, face masks will be required inside the school buildings, in all areas. That means face masks will be required in classrooms by students and staff, as well as communal areas. For those students with specific needs/requirements which make this difficult, please contact your year group team or the SEND team to make them aware and we will be happy support.
EXAMS – UPDATED 25/2/21
Today we will receive clarification from the department of education on the awarding of GCSE grades. We will look through this information and will be writing to all year 11s and parents next week with details of how they will be graded. We must emphasize however that GCSE courses have not finished and the work you do now, and on your return to in-school education will have an impact on your grade. We, therefore, urge every student to take full advantage of every lesson. We do know that results day this year will be earlier, on 12th August. Again we will be sending out details on how to get your results.
ALL pupils will be required to be in full school uniform from week commencing Monday 8th March when they return. Our uniform policy is available here: https://fracademy.org/uniform/
As before, on the days that students have PE lessons, they must come to school in their PE kit with an appropriate tracksuit, due to restrictions on changing at school during COVID.
We understand some of you may are struggling financially, so if this presents an issue for you, please contact your year group team and we will do what we can to help.
Please remember we have a uniform swap shop, information available here at the bottom of the page: https://fracademy.org/uniform/
The Government’s Winter COVID Grant Scheme may also be able to help you financially: https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/winterwellbeing
KEY WORKER SCHOOL PROVISION – 1.3.21
We are unable to take any further bookings for next week due to the phased re-opening of school. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Mobile phones are a contentious issue in schools and there is a growing base of evidence to show that there are plenty of good reasons why they should be limited or even banned. At FRA we have always taken a pragmatic approach to phones in schools, however, their prevalence and the dependence on them by some students has been creating more and more problems for all concerned. In particular:
- We know that phones in school can lead to bullying and problems on social media platforms
- We know that some students are accessing inappropriate material on their phones and then sharing that with each other
- We know that on some occasions, students have shared things happening at school LIVE on social media
- We know that mobile phones can cause distractions in the classroom, and despite our policy being that they should not be out, we find this has become a regular battle with some students who struggle not to look at them, even for short periods of time.
- More and more research suggests that the distraction caused by phones is inhibiting educational performance
Lockdown presents a good opportunity for us to review our mobile policy and to trial new ways of working. Students coming to school should expect us to be more focused on this and that they will have to work with us to improve the situation. This means phones could be confiscated if seen out during lesson time unless permission has been given for a specific use. We ask for parents support in not contacting their child by mobile phone during lesson times and remind you that we have staff available should you need to quickly make contact via the main school phone number. We are not banning them outright at school, although that remains a potential option because we realise they are important for parents and students in emergency situations. However, permission will be needed to use them outside of break times, or in the school buildings.
We really hope you will work with us on this, because we think it is an important issue and one that is affecting the lives of many of our young people, so we cannot shy away from dealing with it. We will report back on how things have gone during this period and we will also be asking your opinions over the next few weeks and months in order to arrive at the final mobile phone policy for implementation next academic year.
FREE SCHOOL MEALS
Unlike many schools across the country that are tied to a catering supplier who handles their Free School Meals on their behalf, we are in complete control of the process. We have a voucher system in place and all FSM students have been receiving emails each week with a £15 voucher which can be redeemed with a range of local supermarkets. If you are struggling financially, you may be eligible for free school meals, please check here on the Council website. If you are having trouble with any aspect of the Free School Meal service, please email us.
recovery curriculum – updated 1.3.21
We are very aware that pupils may be anxious about returning to school. Last September we started the year with a gradual process which we called our Recovery Curriculum to help ease pupils back into school life whilst allowing them the chance to catch up with peers and staff they will not have seen for some time. We are in the process of designing a similar program to support pupils next week. Please reassure them we will not go straight into assessing them but will be supporting them to re-engage with the school successfully. This will include a variety of activities in their tutor groups aimed at encouraging social interaction.